How many of you remember these things, 45’s? And how many of you remember these wooden crates sold by a long defunct record store that many of us used to house our vinyl music collections? I had a larger crate that held my LP’s but with the passing of time the LP’s went into storage bins and the crates were cast out all except this one. The world went from vinyl to CD’s to MP3’s to having the songs and artists of our time on our phones. But I never got rid of my vinyl which has been making somewhat of a resurgence lately.
This all leads me into the subject of this post, the passing of a musical icon – Prince. He may not have been for everyone but he was so much to so many of us. When I heard of his passing I thought and hoped against hope that it was a hoax and that the world would still be gifted with his music and concerts but those hopes were to no avail – he was gone. My mind took me on a sudden flashback where I recalled things that I hadn’t thought about in years.
A rapid rewind took me back in time to when he first came out and there he was in a music magazine (no idea what magazine) that I was looking at in the grocery store while waiting for my mother to pay for the groceries. There he was with his larger than life persona in not much more than a purple Speedo like bottom writhing on a duvet. I thought “Who the heck is this skinny little guy!” Little did I know then what that guy would become and damned if I wish I had bought that magazine then. He blew up once the album and movie Purple Rain came out and everyone knew then that his name was Prince and he was funky! This was during the heyday of MTV videos and be honest now, how many of you tried to do that little dance move at the end of the Purple Rain video? I know I tried!
I was a fan through his musical, fashion and name changes. The man morphed continually but was always turning out music that had everyone in the club hitting the floor and dancing. I am thankful that I got to see him in concert once and that was a show. He gave you, who you were with and everyone else in your section their money’s worth. And I marveled at how petite he was and could dance and twirl all over the stage while playing a guitar and wearing high heels. I was so jealous of his ability to do all those moves while in heels. But as the saying goes, good things come in small packages.
The man was a character and had character. He was also fiercely private which is refreshing in these times where everything short of seeing the internal organs of some celebrities is constantly bombarding us in the media along with their hedonistic and destructive antics. But whenever he did show up in the media it was a great moment. Plus, he appeared on the Muppet Show! Who cannot love an artist who appears with the Muppets. I got a twofer with that show as I had been a Muppet fan since they first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show and a long time Prince fan as well – win win! A friend of mine was most fortunate to have been at his last concert in Atlanta. Little did we both know that it was his last concert.
It is heart warming to see so many across the globe honoring him with wearing and turning things purple. I’ve been sporting my purple sneakers and I even saw a woman at the mall the other day wearing a – wait for it – raspberry beret. Perhaps another one of the reasons I am mourning his loss so is because his music was a sign of my times, the soundtrack to my life and because we were so close in age. When someone of your own generation passes it pings that mortality nerve we all have.
I won’t insert a video or audio clip of his music in this post as we’ve all heard it on the news and radio enough (even I’m getting tired of hearing the first few bars of Purple Rain being played constantly – he did more songs than that people!) but as I put my earbuds back in and listen privately to my favorites of his – Baby I’m a Star is on repeat – I will say this in closing; we mourn your passing but your music remains to celebrate your life.
And flights of angles sing thee to thy rest – William Shakespeare